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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Paris Attacks Raise Awareness Of Coliseum Security

There's a heightened awareness of security at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in light of the terrorist attack outside of a major soccer stadium in Paris.

The terrorist attack outside the Stade de France in Paris has raised security concerns at stadiums throughout the United States, including one in Los Angeles.

“We understand that Los Angeles is a high value target because we have so many iconic places here,” said LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.

One of these iconic places is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“Anytime there’s a large gathering of crowds such as a football game or concert or anything of that nature, that’s an event we’re concerned about,” he said.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum frequently hosts soccer matches as well as college football games. Coliseum General Manager Joe Furin said the stadium would be following standard security procedures going forward.

“We have a very strong relationship with LAPD and also with the FBI, not just because of Paris, but for a while dating back to 9/11,” he said. “We get information about credible threats to Los Angeles, to stadiums, to activities – things like that – so until they tell us there is a credible threat to react to, we just plan to continue our presence and awareness level.”

He said the Coliseum’s current security plan includes a two-part strategy of maintaining LAPD and private security personnel inside and outside of the stadium as well as instructing staff to ‘see something, say something.’

This policy even applies to seemingly mundane things that appear out of the ordinary.

“Trash cans are in the same place for all of our events,” he said. “So if I’m walking by and all of a sudden I see a cluster of trash cans where they’re not supposed to be, we investigate that.”

Security procedures for entry into the Coliseum vary based on the event, Furin said. Fans attending USC football games are only subject to bag searches.

With the Coliseum set to potentially host an NFL team relocating to Los Angeles as early as next year, security protocol would have to change accordingly.

Over the weekend, the NFL heightened security measures which already include limits on bag size and hand-held wands to screen fans entering the stadiums.

The NFL has not been in touch about security at the Coliseum, Furin said, but league policy calls for all NFL stadiums to implement walk-through metal detectors by next season.

Security measures in place at the French stadium appear to have included pat-downs. The attacker who attempted to enter the stadium was turned away by a security guard who felt his explosive vest, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The next major event at the Coliseum is a football game between USC and UCLA on November 28.

Reach staff reporter Brian Bencomo and follow him on Twitter here.

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